Choosing the Best Hand Coffee Grinder in 2019

Best Hand Coffee Grinder Review

Table of Contents

Every coffee lover would know that freshly ground coffee trumps pre-ground every time. And for some of us, manual coffee grinding is the only way to go. Grinding coffee by hand is not just a process, it’s a personal touch that’s accompanied by the fresh, soothing smell and familiar sounds of grinding beans that signals the rich coffee goodness to come.

Are you a die‐hard manual coffee grinder fan? Go ahead and jump into this list so you can get your hands on the best hand coffee grinder for you! Or are you new to this whole different world? If that’s the case, then welcome! Come in, come in! Let me direct you to the Buyer’s Guide section first so you know what to look for.

Hand Coffee Grinder Comparison Table

Model
Bean Hopper Max CapacityConical Burr MaterialGrind SettingPrice
Zassenhaus Santiago
editor's choice
35 gramsHigh-Grade Tool SteelStepless Check Price
Peugeot Nostalgie35 gramsStainless SteelStepless Check Price
Porlex Mini20 gramsCeramicStepless Check Price
Hario60 gramsCeramicStepless Check Price
JavaPresse
budget choice
35 gramsCeramicStepless Check Price
ROK30 gramsStainless SteelStepped / Stepless Check Price
Handground100 gramsCeramicStepped Check Price
Shanik35 gramsCeramicStepless Check Price
Gourmia GCG931040 gramsCeramicStepless Check Price

The Top 5 Best Hand Coffee Grinders Available in the Market Today

Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill — The Vintage Grinder for Every Brew

Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee MillZassenhaus is a German company that has been in the industry since 1867. They are known for their grinders’ craftsmanship, artistry and old world charm. An embodiment of this beauty and quality, the Zassenhaus Santiago is a vintage-style grinder that is sure to look great in any kitchen.

Attractive Variations

The most recognizable hue is the traditional Mahogany Beech Wood. But the Santiago is also available in other pleasing variations, namely Black Beech Wood & Gold, Natural Varnish, and Black Stain; with each one being less pricey than the one before. So If you’re not after the classic mahogany but only for the grind quality, you can certainly go for the other options.

Infinite Grind Range and Impressive Consistency

This grinder is equipped with a set of conical burrs made of hardened carbon steel. It also has a stepless grind setting adjustment, which means that it takes some getting used to. But the extraordinary control over the fineness or coarseness of your grounds eventually more than makes up for the slight learning curve. You can micro-adjust your ground’s setting to your heart’s desire.

Pro tip: With stepless grinders, the adjustment nut or wheel can sometimes move (and change setting) if you are grinding too fast. With the hand you’re using to hold the Santiago down, press a finger against the nut to keep it from moving while you use the other hand to crank the handle.

The grind range and quality on the Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill are truly exceptional. So impressive, that it can even produce the powder-like, extra fine grounds needed for Turkish coffee. It’s also great for the medium to medium-fine grounds of pour-over coffee and the AeroPress; the medium-coarse grounds used for Chemex; and coarser grounds for the French press.

If you’re into cold brew, the “hipster coffee”, then you can produce fairly decent extra coarse grounds. I’ve had good results with a Filtron, myself (all those filters, ya’ll). Goes to show that with the Zassenhaus Santiago, you can grind for almost every brew method and realize the full potential of your coffee beans.

Guaranteed to Last

Zassenhaus offers a remarkable 25-year warranty on the Santiago’s grind mechanism. It is very reassuring that the company is so confident in its product quality that they can guarantee it for a quarter of a century.

A Grip Situation

Because of the squarish design, it can be difficult to grip the Santiago, especially for those with smaller hands. It’s not a very efficient use of energy to have to exert force to keep it on the countertop while trying to maneuver the crank handle. And unlike the Porlex Mini and JavaPresse, it’s a bit too heavy and bulky for most to comfortably pick-up and hold while grinding steadily.

Pro tip: Use those legs. Sitting down and gripping the coffee mill between your lower thighs or knees while cranking will make it much easier to operate. You won’t look particularly graceful but it’ll get the job done.


Pros
  • Can grind for most coffee brews, including Turkish coffee
  • 25-year warranty on mechanism
  • Classic vintage design
Cons
  • Can be awkward to maneuver
  • Pricey

Peugeot Nostalgie Hand Coffee Mill — The Dual-purpose Grinder

Peugeot Nostalgie Hand Coffee MillAnother wooden hand coffee grinder with a classic European design is the Peugeot Nostalgie. It’s a throwback to the days when grinding beans by cranking a handle by hand is “modern”, and ordinary people take their coffee mugs to sit and relax by the fireplace every evening, after a long day’s work.

Choices, choices

This elegant grinder is made of beech wood and the pretty walnut finish is the most common, but it’s also available in other variations—the classic Beech Wood, Gray, and Ivory.

Excellent Grounds

Not only does it look superb but the Nostalgie also does its job superbly. This well-made grinder has a stainless steel burr grinding mechanism that delivers spectacularly consistent results—from fine grounds for espresso, to coarse grounds for the French Press, and everything in between.

Unique Adjustment

Way back a hundred years ago, they really did it the hard way. It’s part of the charm. Don’t get confused when adjusting the grind setting of the aptly named Nostalgie for the first time because you’ll be using both hands. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Identify the adjustment tool at the top of the mill’s grind shaft. The thin, reversed “J” piece is a lock tab.
  2. Pull the tab back from the adjustment wheel and hold on to it while you turn the wheel—turn clockwise for a finer grind and counterclockwise for coarser.
  3. Once you have your desired setting, release the lock tab to the nearest wheel groove to hold the setting in place.
  4. Crank away!

Nifty Bonus

Not only is the Peugeot Nostalgie Hand Coffee Mill a high-grade coffee grinder, but it also doubles as a high-yield pepper mill. Although I would suggest cleaning it out before and after if you don’t want peppery coffee and coffee-tasting peppers.

The Nostalgie also has a wider base so it will be easier than the Santiago to maneuver. But if you’re still having trouble, remember that you can always hold it between your knees.

The Grinder That Lasts a Lifetime — Literally

You will be impressed to know that the Nostalgie also comes with a lifetime warranty for its grinding mechanism. Color me extremely reassured. It’s not every day that you can own a device that would probably outlast you.

Good Hopper, Small Drawer

This coffee mill has a good-sized bean hopper, enough to make coffee for two or three people at full capacity. However, the receiving drawer does not have as much space. It’s too small in comparison that if you decide to grind a ‘hopperful” of beans, you’ll have to empty the drawer a few times. Always take care not to overflow it with grounds, otherwise, it can get messy.

It’s certainly not a bother if you only grind for one. And even if you’re making coffee for two or more people, this is a small flaw that you can probably get used to. Otherwise, consider the Zassenhaus Santiago, which has a bigger drawer capacity.


Pros
  • Can also double as a pepper grinder
  • Lifetime warranty on grinding mechanism
  • Classic vintage design
Cons
  • Small drawer capacity
  • Pricey

Porlex Mini — The Ultralight Traveler and Backpacker’s Hand Coffee Grinder

Porlex Mini Hand Grinder ReviewAt just 6 inches tall and weighing about 8 ounces, the Porlex Mini is the definition of portable. This admirably compact manual coffee grinder will fit into every traveler’s bag without taking too much space. It’s also housed in stainless steel that feels very sturdy. You won’t have to worry about the bustle and jostle that this wee grinder is sure to take among other camping, biking or hiking stuff.

Reinforced for Stability

The Porlex Mini has spring-loaded, conical burrs made of ceramic. The spring contributes to its stability by keeping the burrs from wobbling or floating around―giving you a marvelously consistent grind, especially in the fine to medium coarse settings.

The Porlex Mini is just the grinder for pour over coffee, Chemex or Aeropress brew on-the-go. It even makes pretty decent coarse grinds for the French press. The Mini can also produce seriously consistent fine grinds for your espresso maker. Just be patient as espresso takes a bit of continuous cranking.

Coffee Grinder On-The-Go

Fun fact: If you take out the rubber piece that wraps around its body (we’ll get to that one’s purpose in a bit), then the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder fits perfectly inside an Aeropress maker. That’s clever space saving for you―definitely a good selling point!

If you don’t use the Aeropress, the removable rubber band piece has a notch for the purpose of holding the crank handle. It’s a small feature but is nonetheless pretty useful and adds to the Porlex Mini’s portability. Unlike other grinders, you’ll have a place to store the handle so you never lose it. All of us sloppy packers, rejoice! Just toss the whole thing into your bag and be good to go.

Just a Cuppa

Perhaps, the most important thing to take into account when considering the Porlex Mini is its small size—it’s a two-edged sword. The Mini only has a capacity to grind for a cup of coffee, maybe, a cup and a half. This is fine if you’re only grinding for yourself…or if you’re into exercising your cranking arm for multiple cups. Oh well, considering the Mini’s incredible portability, something’s gotta give.

The Porlex Mini is arguably the best hand coffee grinder for traveling and it’s undoubtedly my grinder on-the-go for solo- or even duo-cup trips. However, if I were grinding for three or more, the bigger but still portable Javapresse would probably be worth bringing along. Quick reminder: Try not to drop either. Both mills come with ceramic burrs that are not impervious to breakage from the impact of a substantial fall.


Pros
  • Uber portable
  • Has a rubber piece where you can stow the crank handle
  • Sans the rubber, the Porlex Mini perfectly fits inside the Aeropress
Cons
  • The low capacity might be a deal breaker.

Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Mill — Small Grinder, Big Capacity

Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Mill ReviewIf you’re thinking of grinding for four or more and not intimidated by grinding for that long, then you’ll be delighted by the Hario Skerton Pro. With a 60g hopper, it has the biggest capacity in the bunch. Being able to hold that much and still allowing users to grind fairly quickly and easily is no small feat.

The Hario Skerton Original and Hario Skerton Plus were good grinders. But with its release, the Hario Ceramic Mill – Skerton Pro has blown these two out of the water. Check out the new and improved Pro with this summary of improvements. (If you have an Original or a Plus and thinking of upgrading, look no further. This one’s for you too.)

Refined Grind Setting Adjustment

Before: In order to make adjustments in the older models, you’ll have to 1) unscrew the top nut, 2) take the crank handle off, 3) take a rubber lid off, 4) take a specialized stopper pin off, and finally, 5) change the setting by turning the pseudo-stepless adjustment cog. And then, 6) you’ll have to put everything back together again, being extra careful to line up the stopper pin correctly.

You get used to the whole shebang after a while but all these can be cumbersome, especially if you’re the kind who likes to make brews that require differing grind settings every now and again. Also, you’ll have to be careful not to lose those tiny pieces!

With the Pro: The adjustment knob is now stepped and located underneath the burr, not unlike the JavaPresse adjustment knob. You can observe the burr go in and out according to your selection. It’s less hassle to be able to just turn the knob quickly and there’s no danger of losing a part.

Enhanced Grind Quality

Before: With the Original, there’s a lot of wobbling on the burr set, especially on the coarsest settings. Thus, there was a lot of ground unevenness. They did improve this in the Plus by using metal supports to promote stability and reduce wobbling.

With the Pro: Hario replaced the metal with plastic supports that go all the way down through. Along with the new spring, these improvements have enhanced the grinder’s stability so much that the Hario Skerton Pro can now produce even more consistent coffee grounds.

Upgraded Handle

Before: In order to take the crank handle off for travel and have the grinder fit better in your bag, you’ll have to go through all the “taking things off” process. You’ll then have something to store the little pieces in. There have also been a number of complaints about the flimsy handle wearing off with time.

With the Pro: The handle just slips off, no more unscrewing involved. Hario also responded to negative customer feedback on the flimsy handle by introducing a sturdier version made of cast metal that is sure to last a very long time against wear and tear. It feels very solid and seems to use energy more efficiently.

Fragile Receptacle

The glass receptacle is cute and classy but it’s a little too fragile (and dangerous if it breaks). Yes, it does have a removable silicone base that offers some protection but is still a long way from the durability of plastic or steel. The glass also makes the mill quite heavy for traveling, especially when hiking, backpacking or for long haul travels.

Pro tip: The glass container is about the size of a small mason jar. It wouldn’t be too hard to find a plastic jar to replace the glass for when you’re off to distant places.


Pros
  • Relatively big hopper capacity for a manual grinder
  • Solid and efficient crank handle
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Breakable and heavy receptacle

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder — The Best Hand Coffee Grinder For the Budget Conscious

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder ReviewThe JavaPresse is a simple, slender cylinder of unrelieved stainless steel, except for its tiny window and handle tip. It’s a no-fuss, lightweight and easily-transportable coffee mill that gets the job done. The JavaPresse is great for beginners to hand coffee grinding who wants an affordable device that does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.

Affordable Grinder, Quality Grounds

Inside its stainless steel body is a spring-loaded ceramic conical burr set. Underneath this burr set is the adjustment knob with more than 18 grind settings for control over the fineness of your coffee. Every time you hit a perfect one for your favorite brew, it’s easy to mark your place with a sharpie.

Expect to be cranking for more than just minute or two with this grinder, especially for fine grounds. But considering its price point, the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder produces outstandingly even, fine to medium coarse coffee grounds.

But, as is the curse of most hand coffee mills, it starts to lose uniformity, with increasing coarseness. Not dramatically so that the coffee is unusable, but the fines will definitely be very present. That being said, the JavaPresse can still produce decent, somewhat bitter coffee using the French press. If you don’t plan to travel, however, you’ll get undoubtedly better, coarse grinds with the pricier Zassenhaus Santiago or Peugeot Nostalgie.

Uber Portable for Two

The JavaPresse is a worthy travel companion. Its slenderness will allow you to simply slide it in with your other stuff. And because it’s made of stainless steel, it won’t be the worse for wear clunking inside your bag—except for its glass window, which we’ll get to in just a minute.

This cylindrical coffee mill is second only to the Porlex Mini in terms of portability, but it compensates with a bigger capacity. The JavaPresse can accommodate 35 grams of coffee beans—enough for two or three cups, as opposed to the Mini’s 20-gram capacity, good for solo cups and some change. Furthermore, the JavaPresse is taller but can fit inside the AeroPress too.

My Gripe

I’ve heard that some people really like the window feature embedded into the grounds receiver. But not me. First of all, a glass window is infinitely more fragile than steel. It’s a risk when traveling and shaves some points off of the JavaPresse’s portability.

And second, it makes the unit a tad difficult to clean or dust coffee off of. Grounds like to get stuck inside the small ridge insertions made on the steel in order to hold the glass in place. When you’ve already measured how much coffee you’ve placed inside the canister and have adjusted the coarseness setting, there’s really no need for a peeking window, especially with the downsides. But that’s just me.


Pros
  • Very Affordable
  • Portable
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons
  • Takes a while to grind coffee
  • The glass window is redundant

ROK Coffee Grinder — The Barista’s Coffee Grinder

ROK Coffee Grinder ReviewNope, that’s not a lowkey medieval implement of torture that was somehow added to this list by accident. The ROK Coffee Grinder’s unique design looks fantastic and would make you feel like a professional barista in your own kitchen.

Quality All The Way

It’s no surprise that this premium coffee grinder delivers premium ground consistency. It’s popularly paired with its brother, the ROK Espresso Maker. But don’t let that mislead you as this coffee grinder is not only for espresso, it’s a versatile workhorse that produces exceptionally consistent grounds all the way to the course grounds needed for a French press. In fact, it’s so good that it can even match some pricier electric coffee grinders.

You can also modify the ROK to go from stepped to stepless adjustment by fitting a washer to the adjustment wheel. Adding the washer will give you infinite grind settings for a precise fineness.

The Sonic of Grinders

Undeniably, the ROK Coffee Grinder is a serious investment at its price point, but it would be a well‐chosen one. Unlike any other on this list, the ROK is a fast grinder that would require less effort compared to other hand coffee grinders out there. It’s so fast that it only takes half the time to grind beans with the ROK compared to other brands.

Save Your Arms

With the handle mounted on the side, moving your arm in a circular push and pull motion feels way more natural than having to raise your arm and crank left to right, as seen in most handheld coffee grinders. The long handle also makes for very efficient use of energy.

In addition, the ROK coffee grinder has a wide rectangular base and a sticky ring that will attach the grinder neatly to your countertop. These make the grinder very stable and contribute to its efficiency. You won’t be using as much force to keep it from dancing around while you crank.

All these energy‐saving features play a part in the grinder’s superfast ability to produce grinds.

To Cover or Not To Cover

Most grinders on this list have bean hopper covers but not this one. Being coverless adds to the ROK’s aesthetic but sometimes, beans can pop out of the hopper. It would be difficult to grind more than 20 grams of beans on the ROK because of this. A quick fix is shaping your own cover from cardboard or hard plastic. With a cover, it can fit up to 30g of coffee beans at a time.

Sticky Static

An issue with grinders equipped with steel burr sets is that static often has the coffee grounds clinging to the grinder. This is especially true with the ROK. It can be a bit tricky to get stray coffee grounds out of the ROK’s receiver cup and off the adjustment wheel without having to brush them all off or tapping the grinder and cup a bunch of times. It’s either waste your time doing this or ignore the stray grounds and waste a huge accumulative amount of high-quality coffee.

Pro Tip: Good thing you can take care of static by mixing one or two droplets of water to the beans in the hopper before you start grinding. Another technique is wetting a spoon handle and then gently agitating the beans with said spoon. And no, it doesn’t alter the coffee’s taste.

Such Heft

At 4.5 pounds, the ROK Coffee Grinder is not ideal for travel. And in case that hasn’t convinced you, it’s also bulky and too irregularly shaped to comfortably fit inside a suitcase or backpack.

Pros
  • Unique Design
  • Premium ground consistency
  • It’s super fast
  • The long, side-mounted crank handle is easy to use
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Has a surprisingly small capacity for its size
  • Not for traveling
Reviewer’s note: There’s a new edition ROK GrinderGC just released a couple of months ago that I’m very excited for! I’ve heard really good initial reviews on it and I can’t wait to get my hands on a unit. I’ll be updating this list as soon as I do, so stay tuned!

Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder

Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder ReviewAnother product of crowdfunding, the Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder was a Kickstarter baby that gained massive support from the coffee community. Thousands of coffee enthusiasts contributed to the making of this grinder—both in funds and design. Even the name “Handground” was chosen through a survey. It’s a hand coffee grinder built by manual coffee grinding lovers, for manual coffee grinding lovers. But does it live up to expectations? Here’s my take.

Easy Adjustment

The HandGround Precision has 15 grind settings for all your brewing requirements (except, perhaps, Turkish coffee, that is). There are 8 steps in total with a half-step in between. A guideline is provided with each unit. Handground suggests setting 1 for espresso, 5 for Chemex and 8 for French press. Sounds great on paper but it’s a bit misleading, actually.

Pro Tip: Try this modified setting: 1 for espresso; 1.5 to 2 for Aeropress; 2.5 for pour over; and 4 for French press.

You can adjust your grind setting through an external wheel on the Handground that clicks when you arrive at each level—kinda like a camera focus lens, the wheel’s inspiration. The hopper also has measurement marks on the side, with each mark representing approximately 10g of coffee beans.

Perfectly Consistent Fine Grounds

As with all hand coffee grinders, the Handground’s strength is in the fine grounds. It can produce grounds for espresso and Aeropress that are as splendidly consistent as any on this list—on par with pricier hand grinders. It can even match some low‐end commercial electric burr grinders. Coarser grounds for the French press are also moderately consistent.

Easy-breezy

Just like the ROK Coffee Grinder, the HandGround’s simple but very effective take on the placement of the side-mounted crank handle is definitely a draw. I can attest to the vast improvement in comfort with the grinding motion. If you’re going to slave away a minute of your morning, then might as well be comfortable, yes?

It’s also worth mentioning that, just like the ROK, the HandGround’s base has a sticky non‐slip pad that really helps with grinding. You won’t have to use as much force with the steadying arm to keep the unit in place while your other arm does the hard work. With the Porlex Mini and other small grinders, this is not a problem because you can typically pick them up for easier, cozier cranking.

The difference is more apparent when compared with the bulkier “countertop grinders” like the Zassenhaus Santiago and Peugeot Nostalgie whose crank handles are located at the top. The HandGround can be conveniently classed in between these grinders. The same can be said for its portability.

Huge Volume

With a 100g bean hopper capacity, this hand coffee grinder is big. Being made of wood, steel and glass, the Handground can also be heavy. I’ll be happy using it at home but I can’t say I’ll bring it traveling with me. For a smaller and lighter option with a respectable volume, the Hario Skerton Pro has a 60-gram capacity and not as much heft.

Pros
  • Big capacity
  • Convenient crank handle placement
  • Sticky base
Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Not the most ideal for traveling

Shanik — The Beginner’s Handheld Grinder with Handy Details

Shanik Manual Coffee Grinder ReviewOh look, it’s another canister-style coffee grinder! Yes, I know. But you have to admit that canisters are quite handy and portable. If it works…

Twinning

The Shanik Premium Quality Stainless Steel Manual Coffee Grinder looks a lot like the JavaPresse. They’re almost identical except for the crank handle knob and some pizzazz added to the Shanik. They also both quite affordable. Hmmm, it’s almost as if they were manufactured by the same factory and rebranded for distribution.

If I’m asked to choose between the two, I would be hard-pressed to pick one over the other based on performance alone. Side by side, they both are outstanding grinders for their price. They produce consistent fine grounds and show some suffering with coarser grounds. Both also take some extra cranking time to get done.

And because they are the same size, the Shanik is a perfect pair for the Aeropress too!

Feature-rich

That said, the Shanik pizzazz I mentioned make all the difference! They are the reason why both handheld grinders are included in this list. Kinda like offering two identical and equally delicious chocolate cakes, except one is plain while the other is covered in colorful frosting.

These clever and convenient additions are simply delightful for someone like me who adore small but useful features. Do any of them appeal to you?

  • The Shanik has a grip to prevent slippage, much like the Porlex Mini. It has the Mini’s notch for storing the crank handle too.
  • Like the Hario Skerton Pro, the Shanik has a silicon cap for its base that would protect it from dents or prevent it from scratching your countertop. And it gets better. This silicon cap also doubles as the receiving chamber cover for storing excess grounds.
  • The window is still an issue but it didn’t bother me as much as it did on the JavaPresse because they added measurements outside of said window that would allow you to estimate how many teaspoons of coffee grounds you have. You can also use this to estimate the quantity of your coffee beans first before placing them into the hopper.
  • Each unit arrives in a neat box with a simple presentation inside, perfect for gifting. A velvet pouch is also included for extra protection when you’re out and about.
  • It comes with replacements parts! This does not foster my confidence in the product’s durability if they had to include replacements. But it’s a nice touch and definitely a plus. No need to contact customer care in case of damage.

If I was a beginner, I would seriously be considering this product. Heck, I like it even though I don’t consider myself new to this anymore.

Premium, Shremium

While its name says “Premium Quality”, the Shanik Grinder, does not, in fact, feel very premium. It doesn’t outright feel cheap but it’s light and thin, which are actually plus points for portability.
Pros
  • Very Affordable
  • Portable
  • Has various useful pizzazz
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons
  • Takes a while to grind coffee

Gourmia GCG9310 — The Dirtcheap Vintage Hand Coffee Grinder

Gourmia GCG9310 ReviewWant a coffee grinder with the vintage looks of the Zassenhaus Santiago and Peugeot Nostalgie but don’t wanna pay the same price?

Stylishly Vintage

The Gourmia GCG9310 Manual Coffee Grinder would look cute in any kitchen with its mahogany finish and nickel-plated {design}. Now, you might say that there’s actually a lot of cutesy grinders on Amazon that look vintage but are actually plasticky and can’t grind coffee for toffee. Well, this thing can actually deliver reasonably consistent grounds. It won’t win you any artisan coffee competitions anytime soon but it’s not bad at all.

Although one thing to be aware of is that, since this isn’t the ROK, grinding for espresso may very well take you forever. Just kidding. Around 6 minutes for 17 grams of coffee beans should be about right.

Neither is the Gourmia plasticky and cheap-looking. Granted, it’s not made of beech wood and may not feel as solid as its more expensive counterparts, but it is pretty enough to be a great addition to any stylish kitchen.

A Multipurpose Grinder

The Gourmia can also be used to grind dry spices, nuts and herbs. However, take care to clean the grinder after each use to prevent mixing of flavors.

A Wide Hopper

This coffee mill has an open hopper but because of its wide mouth, beans don’t tend to pop out a lot, especially if you don’t fill it to full capacity. The hopper has a wide flat base with a smaller opening that leads to the grinder mechanism. I’ve noticed that beans can get stuck at the flat areas of the hopper and you’ll have to shake the Gourmia a few times to encourage the beans to fall into the opening so they can be ground.

At its maximum, the hopper can hold 40 grams of coffee beans. Like the Peugeot Nostalgie, it also has a small receiving drawer so grinding with a full hopper will require you to empty the drawer a few times.

Pros
  • Very Cheap
  • Pretty vintage design
  • Reasonably consistent grounds
  • Multipurpose
Cons
  • Small receiving drawer
  • Grinding for espresso will take a long time

Best Hand Coffee Grinder Buyer’s Guide

What Type of Hand Coffee Grinder Should you Choose?

Blade Vs Conical Burr Grinders

Blade-type and burr-type are the two basic kinds of hand coffee grinders:

  • Blade hand coffee grinders are armed with double-pronged propellers controlled by pushing a button. They are slightly cheaper and more convenient to use.
  • Conical burrs for burr-type manual coffee grinders are a pair of abrasive surfaces—one is an inner burr and the other is an outer burr. This type is slightly pricier than blade grinders and requires you to turn a crank handle to start grinding.

Burr VS Blade Coffee Grinder

How It Works

A manual blade coffee grinder essentially chops and hacks the beans indiscriminately into progressively smaller pieces. You stop grinding once the majority of the desired texture is achieved.

The grinding mechanism on the manual burr coffee grinder, on the other hand, crushes and grinds the beans. One burr is revolving and the other is stationary. The coffee beans go in between these burrs. The moving surface rubs the beans onto the stationary surface until they are crushed and ground.

Before grinding, you set the burr mill on the grind setting you want and the ground coffee beans automatically fall to a waiting container once they are crushed to the desired size. The distance between the burr set is adjustable, which is how you get different grind settings.

Texture and Uniformity

Coffee processed in hand blade grinders is often widely inconsistent. You’ll get random particle sizes ranging from chunks, a quarter of the size of whole beans to fine grounds and coffee dust.

Coffee processed in hand burr grinders is more uniform in texture. Burr grinders can also be adjusted to yield a wide range of even fineness or coarseness.

Brew Quality

Crazily uneven particle sizes produced from blade coffee grinders make for inferior coffee. The dust and superfine particles will be over-extracted and the bigger chunks will be under-extracted. What you’ll end up with is dirty, unbalanced coffee—with lots of residue and tasting bitter, sour and weak at the same time. In addition, prolonged use of a blade grinder can burn the grounds. This will further deteriorate the quality of your cup.

Because you get more consistent particle sizes with burr coffee grinders, you’ll be getting better quality, well-balanced coffee overall.

Conclusion

The only probable advantage of manual blade grinding is affordability and convenience. Even then, budget-friendly, manual burr grinders are available in the market. Burr grinders produce better, more consistent grounds than blade grinders. This means that burr-ground brew will be superior to blade-ground brew, using the same coffee grounds. Simply put, choose a hand coffee grinder with a burr set grinding mechanism.

Ceramic Vs Steel Conical Burrs

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceramic Burrs

Ceramic is harder than steel and can hold up to decades of normal wear and tear without becoming dull. Whereas, steel burrs can start sharper than ceramic but does go dull. That said, ceramic is still very fragile against sudden forceful impact. Be careful not to drop your hand grinder if it has a ceramic burr set.

You also have to be vigilant about materials other than coffee beans ending up inside the grinder. Foreign matter like sticks or small stones are harder than coffee beans and will most likely cause cracking or breakage.

Ceramic is generally cheaper, which is why they are common in more affordable hand coffee grinders.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steel Burrs

Steel burrs are made of stainless steel, which makes them as resistant to corrosion as ceramic. Steel burrs are also virtually indestructible against falls. Nor would they break easily upon encounter with foreign bodies. It won’t hurt to still be careful not to place anything harder than coffee beans into a hand coffee grinder, regardless.

Unlike ceramic burrs, steel burrs can become blunt through regular wear and tear from constant grinding. But we’re talking about a lot of usage here, a frequency that’s not usual for a domestic setting. So with the hand coffee grinders that we have on this list, you probably won’t see any dulling. (Unless, you plan to open a coffee shop that serves manually ground coffee, that is. In which case, you’ll probably need baristas with trunks for arms, or more efficient machines.)

How Do They Affect Coffee Taste

There’s a belief among some in the coffee community that because ceramic burrs do not conduct heat, they are better for grinding. However, it can be argued that since steel burrs do conduct heat, they actually absorb it away from the grounds. You can make your own conclusion.

But to be honest, the taste difference, if there’s any, would be virtually imperceptible anyway. Hand coffee grinders are slow mills, thus, there’s so little heat produced by friction that its negligible.

Conclusion

Don’t make a decision base on the burr material alone. There are altogether small differences to ceramic and stainless steel burrs that won’t matter much, as long as you take proper care of your hand coffee grinder.

What are the Factors to Consider When Making a Decision?

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the mill are inversely proportional to its portability. The bigger and heavier it is, the less portable your grinder will be. If you’re frequently enjoying the outdoors but can’t go a day without at least a cup, you’ll want a lightweight grinder that won’t take too much space in your bag nor add to its weight.

Light, small and slim grinders like the Porlex Mini would be your best bet. The JavaPresse comes at a close second and the Hario Skerton Pro is not far behind.

Bean Hopper Capacity

Grinding beans for a cup or two is no biggie. But you won’t want to be cranking nonstop for 20 minutes in order to make three batches of ground coffee for six people. So think about how many cups of coffee you drink and for how many people you are making a cup for, at a time. Because trust me, it may be fun to be totally involved in making your coffee, but it gets old when you’re in a hurry or just tired.

Grind Size and Consistency

The quality of the beans you are using is, of course, the biggest factor. But the size and grind consistency of the grounds can make or break your morning cuppa. Coffee drinkers who like a different brew every week will want a well-rounded grinder that produces consistent grounds overall. Generally, hand grinders do very well with fine grinds and start to lose consistency with coarser grounds.

Grind Settings

A hand coffee grinder can have a stepped or stepless adjustment. A stepped adjustment has predefined settings you can go for that are usually signaled by a click or a notch. They are very convenient because each “step” represents an adjustment level. You can easily remember or mark which setting is best for what.

A stepless adjustment is devoid of any guiding setting. There’s no click or notch to mark your place. It’s not easy but it gives you complete control. You can make the tiniest tweaks here and there to achieve a precise adjustment that you won’t be able to do with fixed levels of stepped grinders. The Zassenhaus Santiago is an example.

Beginners usually start with stepped grinders and work their way to stepless grinders.

Top Pick: And the winner is…

The Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill is my top pick, with the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder as a runner up.

Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill ReviewWith incredible results from the uniformly powder-like fine grounds required for the hairraising Turkish coffee, to the coarse grounds needed for the French press; the Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill’s splendid capability to deliver overall quality and fairly consistent grounds is what took this grinder to the top.

There’s also something to be said about being able to adjust your setting by increments. Also, I’ll come clean and admit that liking the novelty and ease of grinding coffee between the knees likely has something to do with it, too…

And while the Santiago is my best hand coffee grinder for everyday use, the Porlex Mini is a go-to for when I’m out communing with nature.

How about you, have you taken your pick yet? What was the deciding factor? Do you have a hand coffee grinder that you want me to try out? Let me know in the comments below.

Reviewer’s note: There’s a new edition ROK GrinderGC just released this year that I’m very excited for! I’ve heard really good initial reviews on it and I can’t wait to get my hands on a unit. I’ll be updating this list as soon as I do, so stay tuned!
References
1. https://www.zassenhaus-brandshop.com/Coffee-Grinders
2. https://www.peugeot-saveurs.com/en_wd/nostalgie-manual-coffee-mill-in-walnut-stained-beechwood-21-cm-8in.html
3. https://www.porlexgrinders.com/collections/frontpage/products/porlex-mini-grinder
4. https://www.hario.jp/seihin/productdetail.php?product=MMCS-2B
5. https://www.hario.jp/manual_pdf/MMCS-2B.pdf
6. https://www.javapresse.com/products/coffee-grinder
7. https://www.beanground.com/antique-coffee-grinder/
8. https://houseofarabica.com/coffee-grinders-types
9. https://www.t3.com/features/best-manual-coffee-grinder
10. https://www.espressozone.com/zassenhaus-santiago-hand-coffee-grinder-mahogany
11. https://www.tophomeapps.com/best-coffee-grinder-cold-brew/
12. https://www.roastycoffee.com/coffee-grinder-french-press/
13. https://www.roastycoffee.com/ceramic-vs-stainless-steel-coffee-grinders/
14. https://www.thecoffeemaven.com/best-manual-coffee-grinder/
15. https://ggccoffee.com/stepless-vs-stepped-coffee-grinders/
16. https://www.roastycoffee.com/coffee-grinders/
17. https://coffeechronicler.com/gear/grinders/manual/best-manual-coffee-grinder/
18. https://www.homegrounds.co/best-hand-coffee-grinders/
19. https://www.homegrounds.co/turkish-coffee-grinder-reviews/
20. https://www.drippedcoffee.com/best-hand-coffee-grinders/
21. https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-manual-coffee-grinder/
22. https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-manual-coffee-grinder/
23. https://www.homegrounds.co/coffee-grind-chart/

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